Blue has never been a color I'm particularly fond of. It moved farther down my 'like' list as of Christmas morning. One moment we were happily indulging in holiday excess and the next Sophie was a hideous shade of blue. Not just her lips. Down to her fingertips. The image of her lifeless and blue body splayed across the palm of Andy's hand is permanently etched on the back of my eyelids. There, it will likely haunt me for the rest of my days.
She'd been taking a feed. She spit up as happens on an all too regular basis. This time though, she couldn't clear the mess that rose up in her throat. She stopped breathing. WM started CPR while Joey called 911. Someone found Uncle Andy, a Cincinnati fireman, from upstairs. He took over, alternately coaxing and pleading with her. "Please Baby. Please Baby. Come on Sophie. " His voice insistent. Urgent.
If she dies in this very moment, I need to get pregnant NOW. Who thinks that? Me. A mom desperate to fill a void that has yet to be created but is looming ahead like a vast abyss.
She sputtered ever so slightly, almost imperceptably. The blue began to fade. Andy succeeded.
The paramedics and the fire department arrived. I hit 'mom mode' at a dead run. She's five months old. She has multiple health issues. I started at the top. Her head. Her throat. No suction or intubation unless absolutely necessary due to her recent surgery. Her heart. Her bowel. I rattled off dates and conditions and recent diagnoses on auto pilot.
She had her first ride in an ambulance. She looked, wide-eyed at the medic, clutching his finger in her tiny hand. 'Mom, She's doing fine. She's acting like a normal five-month-old.' He may have thought those words to be comforting not knowing Sophie's anything but normal. Strapped into a seat at the head of the gurney, I couldn't even see the top of her head. I alternately stared at the pulse/ox monitor on the seat next to the medic and out the back window for any sign of WM and Joe following behind in our car.
In the ER, there were x-rays and blood tests that led to a quick admission to the PICU. Her blood gasses were indicative of one who stopped breathing. It was time to play wait and see, a game we are all too familiar with. For now though, she was at her baseline.
My other completely irrational though? Where in the world was my camera? I needed it. Desperately.
Andy arrived sometime during the early evening with Grandma and Grandpa Flynn. Had my sister-in-law been there to bear witness to the scene that unfolded before us, she would have fallen in love with him a hundred times over. Little Sophie amid the IV tubes and monitor wires was carefully tucked into the crook of Uncle Andy's arm. Her eyes grew wide and bore into his with an intensity unlike any other. She was completely enraptured by her hero, this man who saved her. He snuggled. He whispered. He kissed little fingers now the perfect shade of pink, the perfect shade of life. He tapped the end of her little nose with the tip of his finger. Her eyes never left his. Never.
Click. That was the sound of the shutter on my mental camera capturing that moment as my heart spilled over with gratitude and love.
We're home now. Sophie and WM settled into bed together, the feeding pump whirring softly, barely audible over the television. Channing had been overjoyed to see us all again.
'Mommy, me hold you'. He reached up to be held the second we set foot in the door at Flynn's. He was oblivious of Sophie until later when the car seat was set on the dining room floor at our house. He pulled back the BundleMe, little fingers desperately trying to work the latch on her safety belts. Piggy back? Yes, the arrival of the baby sister needs to be celebrated with a piggy back ride around the dining room table. It is the ultimate delight in his 2-year-old mind.
One of these days, I'll gather myself and share Sophie's story from the beginning. She was already our miracle. Now, she's our Christmas miracle.